Image courtesy of Boston College Football
By Kevin J. Stone/@kstone06
Thursday was a day that many did not think what happen.
After months of uncertainty regarding the NCAA football season – and there are still plenty of questions – the Eagles opened up training camp while their official schedule dropped as well.
While things are obviously different this year and the media couldn’t and won’t be present for any practices, coach Jeff Hafley along with linebacker Max Richardson, tight end Hunter Long and running back David Bailey met with the media via Zoom following their first practice. Here are some highlights from each of their sessions:
Hafley spoke for about 10-15 minutes. Before questions Hafley opened with a statement thanking administration, staff, players and coaches for their commitment to the entire process it took just to get players on campus safely. Hafley also acknowledged that the team has taken pride in having no positive Covid-19 tests to this point, but also recognizes out it means nothing if players and coaches stop taking protocols seriously now.
“This team right now, I’m so appreciative and thankful for them and what they’ve done and what they’ve sacrificed,” he said. “It says so much about them. And without the support from the doctors and the great protocol we have we wouldn’t be in this position right now. For them to do everything they’ve done from the start since we got out here, we asked them to give up everything they did, and those guys deserve a lot of credit.
“I told them, what you’ve done this last month, it doesn’t matter. This is just the start because it’s going to get harder. We want to do this for each other, so not only do you have to protect yourself but you’ve got to do it for the guy next to you. Sacrifices have to be made and it is going to get harder and they know that.”
Richardson, Long and Bailey all had that first-day-of-school enthusiasm and tone in their voices when they sat down with the media.
Richardson was up first and talked about how nice it was to not only get back on the field, but to also have a hard date (September 12, home vs. Ohio) when the season would start.
“Well, it was good for them to be some ink on what we were all expecting to be our season,” he said. “I think what we’re just trying to stay focused on is working every day to get better because there’s a lot of unknowns this year, it’s very odd but what we can focus on is what we can control in the building every day.”
Richardson also touched on the pride factor of the entire program testing negative.
“With all the testing and all of us doing a great job testing negative, I think it goes to show what kind of teammates we have and the coaches we have,” he said. “We’re just happy everybody was able to stay strong and remain in the BC Bubble as we call it.”
Long followed and was asked how tough the quarantine was, and he was also asked about his thoughts on former teammate Jake Burt signing on with the Patriots.
“We wanted to take ownership of (quarantine) as a group of players ,” Long said. “We wanted to play this season and we knew we had to take care of ourselves off the field to be able to do that.” Long was then asked on a scale of 1-10 how boring his quarantine was.
“10…11,” he said with a grin. What did he do during it? “A lot of nothing,” Long added. “There wasn’t much going on in New Hampshire things are pretty closed down. It was nice to get back here, it was nice to start playing football again.”
As for Burt, the two are still keeping in close touch. In fact, Long might have made Burt’s life such easier recently.
“Yeah I’ve definitely talked to him…I built him a computer a few weeks ago, maybe a month or two ago,” said Long. “I was really excited for him. He’s a great tight end. He was slowed up a little bit and didn’t really get to show what he could do because of injury, but I think he’s going to kill it there, I’m excited to watch him play.”
Bailey closed out the day echoing many of the same sentiments both his coach and teammates had, but was most impressive and obvious about everyone that spoke on Thursday was the enthusiasm and positivity that was already beaming through Zoom. For a team dealing with a whole new coaching staff during a pandemic it seems as if the Eagles haven’t missed a beat. Both Long and Bailey called it the “cleanest first day of practice,” they’ve ever had during their time at Boston College.
With just 37 days until the first official kick off, the Eagles – like every other team that’s still playing this fall – still face quite a bit of uncertainty, but after one day of camp to feels like BC may be more equipped to handle anything that comes their way better than most programs with leadership in all the right places.